Air Bike vs Spin Bike: What are the Differences?

Indoor stationary exercise bikes are a piece of efficient and powerful equipment; These bikes can help you not only burn the extra calories you have but also improve muscular flexibility, cardiovascular health, and circulation.

Compared to other types of cardio machines, exercise bikes put less stress on your joints but still, contribute to a superb aerobic exercise.

Two of the most popular types of exercise bikes are the Air Bikes & the Spin (or Spinning) Bikes.

But what is the right one for me?

In this article, we will talk about the differences between indoor Air Bikes (Fan Bikes) & Spin Bikes, the advantages & disadvantages of each one, and help you choose the right one for your needs.

Air Bikes

air bike woman

An air or fan bike is an indoor stationary exercise bike with independent handlebars (for the upper body) that move forward and back. An air bike creates resistance with a large fan driven by the speed and power of the bike’s pedals and handles. The harder you work, the more resistance you will be working against. The Schwinn® Airdyne® and the Assault AirBike Classic are two popular examples of air bikes, often seen in gyms.

Spin Bikes

velocore man
Courtesy of Bowflex.

Spin bikes are a modern upgrade to the standard indoor stationary exercise bike. A spin bike is built around a flywheel mechanism that simulates the variable resistance experienced while riding an outdoor ten-speed road bike. Spinning Cycles are designed and built for much faster and higher pedaling speeds. If you have seen a Peloton® commercial, you have seen a spin bike.

Difference Summary

To sum up, the main difference between an Air Bike, like Airdyne, and a Spin Bike is the handlebars and the type of resistance.

  • Air Bikes, in contrast with Spin Bikes, can provide you with a full-body workout by using independent handlebars that move forward and back.
  • Finally, an Air Bike creates resistance with a large fan while a Spin Bike is built around a flywheel mechanism with a friction or (usually) magnetic belt drive resistance.

Fan Bikes Vs Spin Bikes: Pros and Cons

  • Air bikes, often called fan bikes, have been available since 1978 with the introduction of the Airdyne® during the age of aerobics. Fan bikes grew in popularity with the introduction of CrossFit training in the late 1990s as crossfitters recognized the benefits of a full-body workout combined with the ability to train aggressively. There are no motors or electronics on true air bikes; YOU set the resistance level with your pace, and the harder you work, the harder resistance you have to maintain that pace using both your upper and lower body.
  • On the other hand, Spinning bikes were designed and built for group spinning (spin) classes and have only recently become available for indoor use. Many modern exercise bikes have a built-in screen for streaming or joining prerecorded virtual spin classes from home. Spin bikes are built to go fast and are targeted to people who are exercising to burn calories and meet their weight-loss goals. They are imitating the movement of a regular road bike.

Our Top Picks

Air Bikes

Assault AirBike Classic

The AirBike classic is forged from the most durable & quality materials. This bike has an excellent customer review score on Amazon.

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Rogue Echo Bike

A very stable and sturdy commercial grade air bike by the famous Rogue company. It scores very high on customer reviews.

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Indoor Cycles (Spin Bikes)

Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle Bundle

A USA-made bike featuring the industry's first V-frame to mimic the shape, feel, and resistance of a variety of different road bikes.

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Bowflex C6 Bike

The perfect Peloton alternative. The connectivity with many apps (including Zwift), sturdy frame, and great price make it a top choice in the market.

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Air bike vs Spin Bike: Pros & Cons Table

Air Bikes


  • Real full body workout. Can help you even on the upper body
  • Most fan bikes are solidly built and require no electrical outlet
  • Thanks to solid construction, most air bikes will support users up to 350 pounds
  • Fan bikes provide all of the cardio benefits of running, and get your heart rate up, without impact
  • You will burn an estimated 500 calories per 30-minute workout
  • Simple to use, not easy, but uncomplicated


  • Large and heavy. Fan bikes are solidly built, heavy, and have a large footprint.
  • Quality air bikes may be expensive (and expensive to ship).
  • Air bikes do not fold, are not compact, and may need their own dedicated space.

Spin Bikes


  • When used correctly, spinning provides authentic HIIT training, periods of high intensity alternating with brief periods of lower intensity and recovery periods (interval training).
  • Spinning burns both calories and stored body fat. Spinning over 30 minutes will burn available carbs and stored glycogen and then tap into fat stores for fuel.
  • Spin bikes are a relatively quiet, low impact way to get your heart rate up.
  • When using the available screens and virtual classes, spinning can be both fun and challenging. You will look forward to the experience rather than dread your workouts.


  • Modern, high-quality spinning bikes can be costly.
  • Spin bikes are very tech-dependent; they need power and often a WiFi connection.
  • Spin bikes must be set up anatomically correctly to avoid butt, shoulder, and back pain. You will need to properly adjust the distances between seat, pedals, handlebars, etc.
  • While smaller and lighter than fan bikes, you still may need a dedicated space for your spin bike.

Air Bike vs Spin Bike: Which should I choose?

Air Bike vs Spin Bike

Both options have distinct advantages, and BOTH are healthy fitness tools, but your choice should be based on your personal fitness goals: 

● If you are interested in cardiovascular health, fitness, and building a LEAN and well-defined body (and don’t mind pushing yourself to your limits), choose a quality AIR BIKE like Airdyne!

● If your goal is cardio fitness, weight loss, and calorie burning, and a toned butt, and you are NOT technologically challenged, your best option is a quality SPIN BIKE like Keiser!